May 2016 • World Travel
Checking Sicily off the bucket list

Checking Sicily off the bucket list

Checking Sicily off the bucket list.

Tom Jackson has been traveling the world since 1952 and has visited 151 countries so far! A destination on his “Bucket List” was Sicily and recently, Tom and his wife Sharon made an in-depth visit there. Below Tom gives us a brief overview of their Sicily adventure planned by the Travel Advisors at World Travel.

Sicily is the largest Island on the Mediterranean Sea. The history and culture of this region of Italy is unique and engaging.

Our adventure started with a flight from Rome to Catania, located on the east end of the Island. We secured our rental car and drove north along the coast to the Greek founded city of Toaromina. This community is located on the coast in the shadow of Mt. Etna, a volcano that is still active with smoke drifting out of its dome 24/7. During our visit, spring, there was still snow on the volcano. One has to be there to see how dominating Mt. Etna is relative to the surrounding area. Its slopes, at lower levels, are dominated by vineyards for Sicilian wine production. Our hotel was the Grand Timeo placed above the city and harbor with spectacular views. Adjacent to the Grand Timeo is the Ancient Greek Amphitheater. In the late spring, all summer and early fall, performances are presented amongst these ancient facilities.

The history of Sicily is a mixture of diverse populations attacking and seizing the Island. These attacking groups include, Greeks, Romans, French, Normans, Spanish and Africans among others. This has created a multi-civilization core amongst the people of Sicily. The people here are very nationalistic regarding this region and state of Italy. The inhabitants would normally say they are Sicilians rather than Italians.

Our next destination was the largest city in Sicily, Palermo. The drive time from Taormina to Palermo was approximately four hours. The roads and auto-straddas there are good to excellent. Some freeways are toll roads and reasonably priced. By the way, we had a GPS system in our rental car and found it indispensable especially in crowded Palermo. The sightseeing adjacent to the city is the reason to come to this capital city. The western portion of the Island, around Trapania is loaded with so much history and culture, making it a highlight.

After Palermo, we preceded to the South Coast, between Sciaccia and Agrigento. Here we found a more relaxed, less busy region. Our landing spot was the Bellmont de Bureua Resort, a contemporary property on this coast with all the extras one would expect at a five star resort. The accommodations, food, and staff were all exceptional. The highlight of our time on this coast was a two hour, three course hands on cooking experience with the terrific Chef Alfredo. He explained details in depth and coached us with his tricks of the trade. Our menu included caponatta, homemade pasta called fusilli and canolli. This all took place at La Forestria Inn accommodation in the vineyards adjacent to the village of Memfi. La Forestria is owned and operated by the Plantera Winery Company. They have five different vineyard locations on the Island producing different varietals for both red and white wine.

We said goodbye to Sicily with a short and scenic drive to the airport in Palermo for our flights home via Rome and London. This wonderful trip was planned by the experienced travel advisors at World Travel. They continue to beat expectations for us trip after trip!

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